On Gangs

Sometimes, good people, even if they are religious, can fall prey to the desire to dominate and control others, for a variety of reasons.  It’s not sinful that they have those desires.

If they act on them, directly, or indirectly, it’s another matter.

Directly, a person may act to manifest some very selfish intention. In this case, that person may be visible and identified as the perpetrator of that act to anyone who witnesses the act.  The perpetrator may then be held personally to account.  Then, there is an obvious cost for acting in that way.

Indirectly, a person may “hire” someone or something that they can hide behind to do their bidding in order to fulfill their desire. This tactic may provide personal distance from the consequences of actions perpetrated by the surrogate. They approve of the behavior and eagerly anticipate the result of the actions. This is an age old tactic that mob bosses and other gangsters use to provide “plausible deniability” for “the boss” while the deed is carried out.

In another case, a group of people, well organized with a social identity, is formed by members who desire power and control along with personal anonymity.  They may wish that their intentions remain secret.  This is sometimes known as a cult.

In a most extreme case, one plan is to hire a “demon” with sufficient means to carry out their selfish intentions.  Having that kind of representation, members can defend their actions by claiming  “it’s not I who did that”. When the actions are identified and called out and retribution is called for, then “yes, he’s a demon, but he’s my demon” and “I will protect him”. “It’s still more comfortable to me, and safer, that he does those things than I do those things”.

A problem with this plan is that the above declarations imply that a part, perhaps a significant part, of the members’ personal identity is given up to the alternative identity of the group.  The group becomes an alter ego. To be a member, a person only has to deny one’s own identity in favor of the group identity and look to the group for the fulfillment of desires and protection from external consequences.  All of the remaining consequences are then internal.

Another problem with that plan is that the behavior can quickly become nefarious.  Demons often cannot be controlled.


Author: harinam

Yogi, teacher, healer

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